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  What Did
  Lennon &
  McCartney
  Know about
  Writing Music
  and Lyrics That
  You Don't Know?
   
  Plenty!
  But Now You
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  INTRODUCTION:
  Yes, You Can Create Compelling,
  Emotionally Powerful Music and
  Lyrics ... If You Know What You’re
  Doing


 
PAGE INDEX

  

Intro.1   Music Notation? Not Here!

Intro.2   An Essential Skill Songwriters and Performers Lack

Intro.3   Technique First, Then Emotional Abandon

Intro.4   What You Need to Know to Understand Everything in
   this Book

Intro.5   The Territory Ahead

 


 

INTRO.1
M
USIC NOTATION? NOT HERE!

 

Most musicians play by ear. Suppose you play by ear. What use would you have for a book on musical technique full of examples in the form of music notation? Doesn’t make sense. Other ways of explaining music work just as effectively. Or even better.


     Fluency in music, like fluency in language, does not require the ability to read or write. So, How Music REALLY Works! has no music notation.



 

FIGURE 1  How Music REALLY Works!—A Music-Notation-Free Zone

___intro_website.gif


     In case somebody has ever advised you that learning how to read and write music notation will make you a better songwriter or performer, here are just a few of the many songwriters who did alright without notation skills:


Irving Berlin

Johnny Cash

Errol Garner

Jimi Hendrix

Robert Johnson

John Lennon

Paul McCartney

Muddy Waters

Brian Wilson

Stevie Wonder


     And some non-songwriters ... performers who managed to play and sing their way to glory without knowing how to read or write music:


Louis Armstrong

Bix Beiderbeck

Dave Brubeck

Glen Campbell

Bing Crosby

Judy Garland

Kate Smith

Luciano Pavarotti

Elvis Presley

Django Reinhardt

Buddy Rich

Frank Sinatra

Ella Fitzgerald

Chet Baker


     Musical skill is normal in the human species. Not a rare talent. Most people have the potential to sing and to play an instrument with reasonable competence, even if they’ve never tried. Even if they’ve tried and failed (usually due to inept instruction). Ability to read or write music notation has nothing to do with it.


     Same with songwriting. Contrary to common belief, it’s not a special gift. Anybody can write a song. Even a five-year-old child.


     But hardly anybody has one vital skill required to create brilliant, classic songs.



INTRO.2
A
N ESSENTIAL SKILL SONGWRITERS AND PERFORMERS LACK

 

The main part of this book focuses on techniques you can use to create accessible, memorable, emotionally powerful music and lyrics. The biological connection between music and emotion in the human species goes back hundreds of thousands of years, as you’ll see in Chapters 1 and 9. Music evolved as an emotional communication system. And 99.9% of songwriters have no idea how it works or how to exploit it. It’s the essential skill they most need, and most lack. That’s why, for example, the companion to this book, the Gold Standard Song List has only 5,000 songs on it (from a full 100 years of songwriting), instead of 5,000,000 or 500,000,000 songs.


     You have but one instrument at your disposal that you can use to create emotionally powerful music: the 100,000-year-old neural organ inside your skull. If you don’t understand how it works musically, you have no advantage over a million other aspiring songwriters and performers. If you don’t know how to manipulate certain elements of music and lyrics to evoke emotion, you will fail in the marketplace as a songwriter and as a performer of your original songs. Potential audiences do not want to hear emotionally anaemic songs, no matter how well performed.


     Technology will not save you. All the digital hardware and software in the world can’t come remotely close to emulating what your brain can do when it comes to creating emotionally evocative music and lyrics.


     In short, if you want to break away from the masses of struggling musicians, you have to learn how to use your brain’s evolved musical and linguistic modules to create accessible, memorable, emotionally powerful music and lyrics.



INTRO.3
TECHNIQUE FIRST, THEN EMOTIONAL ABANDON

 

First, you need to learn the technical elements covered in this book. Learn the skills Lennon and McCartney spent years acquiring before they ever wrote a song. They didn’t read music, but by the time they started recording original songs, they had absorbed an awful lot of technical stuff about music.


     Their technical knowledge did not come to them magically. Growing up in Liverpool in the 1940s and early 1950s, Lennon and McCartney absorbed a good deal of their musical know-how from the classic songs of great masters such as the Gershwin brothers, Noel Coward, Cole Porter, and Irving Berlin. McCartney learned much about how music works from his father, a proficient amateur pianist who also played trumpet in a jazz band.


     Additionally, the lads devoured the best of American country, folk, and blues, thanks to young Liverpool sailors who brought home the latest records. Lennon and McCartney met in 1957, a couple of years after rock ’n’ roll (as it was known then) had become an international phenomenon. An early poster of Lennon’s pre-Beatles band, The Quarry Men, advertises the band’s repertoire in this order:


Country  •  Western  •  Rock ‘n’ Roll  •  Skiffle


     In the years before getting signed to a label, The Beatles played hundreds of gigs in England and Germany—covers of now classic songs. Once signed, they recorded covers of early rock ’n’ roll tunes such as “Long Tall Sally,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” and “Matchbox.” They also covered some decidedly non-rock material such as “A Taste of Honey” and Meredith Willson’s 1957 Broadway show tune, “Till There Was You,” from The Music Man. Learning all those covers—everything from wartime dance hall tunes to American rockabilly and blues—and playing them over and over and over instilled in Lennon and McCartney a deep understanding and feel for the way great songwriters meld technical and psychological elements to create memorable songs. Any intelligent songwriter who learns how to do this (one way or another, not necessarily the way Lennon and McCartney mastered it), and applies it in his or her own original creative style, can compose brilliant songs consistently. Songwriters who do not learn how to do this (the vast majority) turn out mediocre material.


     As you go through this book, don’t focus on rote-memorization of details. Just take in the major concepts (more on this in a minute). After a while, the most important techniques, summarized at the ends of Chapters 6 through 11, will become second nature to you. Habitual.


     Once you’ve mastered the technical stuff, then write with unpremeditated emotional abandon. Without thinking about whether your methods are “technically correct.” It’s like learning and applying any skill. Riding a bike or a horse. First you nail the technique, then you take off and explore. (Even when you’ve become highly skilled, you’ll find yourself editing and revising initial drafts to make each musical and lyrical component as powerful and memorable as possible.)

 

 

Why this Book Is a Classic Western (And Why You Will Need a Horse)

 

In Chapter 2, you’ll learn why music does not “progress” the way science and technology progress. Instead, artists, including songwriters and performers, aim to create classics. (Artists who don’t aspire to create classics are hacks.)

 

The popular songs of English-speaking nations of the West serve as this book’s reference base for examples and illustrations. Especially the 5,000 classic songs of Western popular music you’ll find at Gold Standard Song List,. Classic songs by Western songwriters such as Bob Dylan, 2Pac, The Beatles, Hank Williams, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, Ferron, the Gershwin brothers, James Brown, Wu-Tang Clan, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, the McGarrigle sisters, Tom Waits, and a thousand others.

 

How Music REALLY Works!, then, is a Classic Western.

 

That means, to get the most from this book, you will need a horse. If you don’t already have one, Sadie and Ellie Sue over at the Dodge City Horse Store can probably fix you up. If they don’t have one to your liking, two stagecoaches leave Dodge every morning, one eastbound to Wichita and the other southbound to Amarillo. Good horse stores in both towns.

 

If you need a drink (and you probably will because you’ll find some bits of this book as dull as a lecture on the geology of gravel), ride on over to the Wrong Ranch Saloon. Ms Puma owns the place and pours the Jack Daniel’s. She has a heart of gold because, in accordance with her life’s role as a cliche in a Classic Western, she used to be a prostitute but has changed her ways.

 

These days, as she tends bar at the Wrong Ranch, Ms Puma has a lot of interesting things to say on all kinds of topics, such as intelligent design and particle physics. For instance, she can explain to you in plain English why it is that, as quarks and gluons get closer together, the forces between them get weaker and weaker. Which, as folks in these parts realize, simply defies common sense.

 

If you have a problem with horse stealers or other nasties, get hold of Marshal McDillon. You’ll most likely find him over at the Wrong Ranch Saloon, visiting with Ms Puma a lot. If you can’t find the Marshal, look for Deputy Fester, who hangs around Sadie and Ellie Sue’s horse store. Which is ironic, considering Deputy Fester can’t ride a horse to save his pathetic soul.

 

If you have a medical problem, Doc Yada-Yadams might be able to treat you. If he’s sober. Which is seldom. But without him, this Classic Western would lack another important cliche, the town drunk.




INTRO.4
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING IN THIS BOOK

 

In short, not much. Here’s a list:

 

        How to count to 32 (well, maybe all the way up to 64).

 

        How to locate and play the notes A, B, C, D, E, F, and G on a piano or guitar or other instrument.

 

        Roman numerals from “I” up to “VII”.

 

        The meaning of simple ratios, such as “2:1", as in “At the Wrong Ranch Saloon, Moosehead beer outsells Diet Coke 2:1”.

 

        How to find, explore, and exploit the Gold Standard Song List (Hint: it’s at www.GoldStandardSongList.com).

 

        What songs to play on your mouth organ for your horse as you ride along in the Deep Purple of Twilight Time through the Blue Shadows on the Trail.


     The farther you travel, the more you will need to get acquainted with the Gold Standard Song List and the instructions at that website on how to listen to free, legal excerpts of songs, and how to get the lyrics for any of the songs.


 

INTRO.5
THE TERRITORY AHEAD

 

All songs spring from songwriters’ information-processing brains. Great songwriters reveal in their songs (both music and lyrics) an intuitive understanding of the evolutionary biology of music. That’s the subject of Chapter 1.


     Songs become timeless classics if they tap into shared human universals, aspects of evolved behaviour that have not changed in tens or hundreds of thousands of years. As you go through this book, you’ll learn how to apply insights about how your brain works in the process of creating and performing your songs. And how your listeners’ brains work when they hear your songs.


     Is it tough to learn?


     In a word, nah. It ain’t rocket science.


     Here’s the thing. You can’t separate biology from the arts. That includes music. The human brain’s built-in receptors for patterns and sequences become activated at several levels when the brain senses patterns in melodies and chords and rhythm and lyrics. How Music REALLY Works! shows you how to exploit your brain’s adaptation for music in your songwriting and performing technique.


     You’ll probably write much better songs, memorable, powerful songs, once you gain an understanding of how the brain processes music and lyrics, and the emotional connections it makes. (You’ll perform better, too).


     That does not mean you have to memorize all the technical details in this book. Instead, you only need to understand the essence of what you’re reading. You can go through the material at whatever pace you’re comfortable with. No need to rush. Your brain will retain the gist of the material that interests you, the stuff you find yourself having fun with—especially the territory that’s new for you. When you’re done, of course you’ll need to look up specific details from time to time to refresh your memory. But you don’t need to memorize lengthy passages to acquire useful information.


     The oft-quoted philosopher, Huckleberry Finn, best sums up where you’re headed in the following pages, and why:

 

I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest because Aunt Sally she’s going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can’t stand it. I been there before.

 


 

~ • ~ • ~ • ~

 

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~ • ~ • ~ • ~

 

You are reading the FREE SAMPLE Chapters 1 through 6 of the acclaimed 12-Chapter book, How Music REALLY Works!, 2nd Edition. Here's what's in Chapters 7 through 12. 

 

To order the book, click here:

  
 

 

 

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS
  

 PART I

 The Big Picture
   Introduction
 
  1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

  

 Notes

  

 References

  

 Index
  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture
   Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture
   Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture
   Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture
   Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


    

 TABLE OF
 CONTENTS

  

 PART I

 The Big Picture
   Introduction

   1. W-5 of Music
  
2. Pop Music
   
    Industry

  
 PART II
 Essential
 Building Blocks
 of Music
   3.
Tones/Overtones
   4. Scales/Intervals
   5. Keys/Modes
 
 PART III
 How to Create
 Emotionally
 Powerful Music
 and Lyrics
   6.
Chords/
  
      Progressions

   7. Pulse/Meter/
  
      Tempo/Rhythm

   8. Phrase/Form
   9. Melody
 10. Lyrics
 11. Repertoire/
     
  Performance

  

 PART IV
 Making a
 Living In Music
 12.
Business of
   
     Music

 
 Appendixes

   

 Notes

   

 References

  

 Index
  


 

 

   Top

 

 


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